Help Shape the Future of the New York State Canal System!

We want to hear your ideas!

The NYS Canal Corporation is inviting input from the public on how to make the canals and trails even better so they can continue to be well-used and well-loved for future generations.

To keep up to date and find an upcoming event near you, join the project email list.

NYS Canals 2050 — A Vision Plan for our Canals & Trails

NYS Canals 2050 starts a process to update the Canal Recreationway Plan, created in 1995, which sets out how our canals and trails are managed and used. The updated plan will shape a new strategic vision for the canal system.

The New York State Canal System spans 524 miles across many counties and through major cities, small towns, and rural landscapes. While it is best known for the Erie Canal, the system also encompasses the Oswego, Cayuga-Seneca and Champlain Canals and adjacent lakes. Alongside the waterway, the Empire State Trail provides a connection for cyclists and pedestrians across the system.

We’re looking for all New Yorkers to help make the updated plan a success! Between now and the completion of the project, the team will be conducting workshops, surveys, and public outreach to inform the new plan. Check this webpage regularly for information, updates, and ways to get involved. 

A map of New York State with the four key canals highlighted. The Erie Canal appears in red, the Oswego Canal appears in purple, the Champlain canal appears in green, and the Cayuga-Seneca Canal appears in yellow.

Many Canals, One System

We know that the canals serve many different purposes for different people. At the heart of the team’s “many canals, one system” approach is the celebration of the various social, cultural, environmental, and economic functions the canals perform for New Yorkers nearby and visitors from around the world.

To reflect these diverse benefits and uses, this process aspires to understand the NYS canal system through six topics: The canals as…

1. Historic Asset

2. Recreationway

3. Economic Engine

4. Cultural Connector

5. Ecological System

6. Infrastructure

Project Timeline

This ongoing, year-long process started in January 2024 and is expected to conclude in December 2024. Along the way, the team will engage in four main phases of Listening & Learning, Envisioning opportunities, developing a Future Strategy, and finally Delivering the plan, as illustrated below.

Get Involved!

August 9, 2023 - Rochester, NY -- Corn Hill historic district. Visitors cruise aboard the Riverie on the Erie Canal. (Call of the Loon Productions)

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